Anderl (Andreas) Oxner von Rinn, also known as Andreas Oxner, was a three-year old boy who, according to a blood libel accusation, was killed on July 12, 1462 by foreign Jews in the village of Rinn (Northern Tyrol, currently part of Austria).

Initial accusations

There is no doubt that in 1475, in the wake of the blood libel of Simon of Trent, the bones of a child were brought to the parish church of Rinn. However, the ritual murder accusation did not arise until after 1620, by the pen of Hyppolyte Guarinoni, a doctor who, at that time, was attached to a lay sisterhood (beguinage) of noblewomen in Hall. Having probably heard of the murder through rumors, in 1642 he wrote a book on the crime: Triumph Cron Marter Vnd Grabschrift of Heilig Unschuldigen Kindts (Crowning, Triumphal Epitaph of an Innocent Child Martyr and Saint). The alleged scene of the crime, Judenstein bei Rinn, became a place of pilgrimage and locus of anti-semitism in the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church

In 1753, the pope Benedict XIV permitted the veneration of Anderl, canonizing him in 1755. This facilitated the spread of the anti-Semitic legend through popular theatrical performances, which were based on the writings of Guarinoni and were performed until 1954. The Brothers Grimm revived the tale in 1816 when they published the first volume of their German legends. In 1893, a book appeared, Four Tyrolian Child Victims of Hassidic Fanaticism by Viennese priest Josef Deckert, and it gave new life to the legend and changed it into a format usable for a modern wave of anti-Semitism.

The Feast of Anderl von Rinn was struck off the religious calendar in 1953 by the Bishop of Innsbruck, Paul Rusch.

Current status

In 1985, the bones of the alleged martyr were removed from the parish church and in 1994 the cult of the child of Judenstein was officially banned by Bishop Reinhold Stecher. Despite this, a pilgrimage to Judenstein Rinn almost always takes place each year on the Sunday following July 12, held in a private capacity by right-wing extremists, locals, and regional and Catholic fundamentalists. Contrary to the orders of the Catholic Church, and also contrary to the scientific evidence regarding this legend, isolated representatives of the Catholic Church have spoken in favour of the observance of the feast and feel that ritual murder has not been proven to be fictional. Supporters of the observance include Gottfried Melzer, co-chaplain of the pilgrimage, who has been suspens a divinis and sentenced in Austria in 1998 for incitement to racial hatred; Robert Prantner, theologian and member of the Engelwerk Association; and Kurt Krenn, former Bishop of St. Pölten and president of the League of Prayer of the Emperor Charles for Peace among Peoples, a nationalist and conservative organization.

Bibliography (in German)

  • Rainer Erb: Es hat nie einen jüdischen Ritualmord gegeben. Konflikte um die Abschaffung der Verehrung des Andreas von Rinn. Wien 1989
  • Bernhard Fresacher: Anderl von Rinn. Ritualmordkult und Neuorientierung in Judenstein 1945–1995. Innsbruck und Wien 1998, ISBN 3-7022-2125-5
  • Andreas Maislinger und Günther Pallaver: « Antisemitismus ohne Juden - Das Beispiel Tirol ». In: Wolfgang Plat (Hg.), Voll Leben und voll Tod ist diese Erde. Bilder aus der Geschichte der Jüdischen Österreicher. Herold Verlag, Wien 1988. ISBN 3-7008-0378-8
  • Ingrid Strobl: Anna und das Anderle. Eine Recherche. Frankfurt am Main 1995, ISBN 3-596-22382-2

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